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Published: Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:48:47 GMT

Last Build Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:48:47 GMT


Sin Luz

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:48:47 GMT

Sin Luz: A multimedia essay on the state of Puerto Rico from the Washington Post. Puerto Rico's apagón, or "super blackout," is the longest and largest major power outage in modern U.S. history. Without electricity, there is no reliable source of clean water. School is out, indefinitely. Health care is fraught. Small businesses are faltering. The tasks of daily life are both exhausting and dangerous. There is nothing to do but wait, and no one can say when the lights will come back on.

Charter & Voucher Schools & "Education"

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:44:19 GMT

A two-part investigation (by HuffPo) into the taxpayer-funded schools Betsy DeVos supports. Voucher Schools Championed By Betsy DeVos Can Teach Whatever They Want. Turns Out They Teach Lies. These schools teach creationism, racism and sexism. They're also taking your tax dollars. Part Two: Inside The Voucher Schools That Teach L. Ron Hubbard, But Say They're Not Scientologist. Betsy DeVos wants to expand school voucher programs throughout the U.S. Get ready for that list to include schools that promote Scientologist doctrine.

Dana Hunter, science writer and blogger En Tequila Es Verdad on The Orbit, has an extensive list of her investigation into christian textbooks, many of which are used in the charter and voucher schools: Xian Textbooks

" how many of us are there?"

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:20:40 GMT

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [YouTube][Trailer] "Into the Spider Verse will be in theaters Christmas 2018, and will star Miles Morales in what the promo material is calling a "fresh vision of a different Spider-Man universe." The elegant visual design of the trailer, with its realistic CGI environments and wiry, acrobatic Miles Morales, certainly feels fresh. The trailer doesn't contain much except for a showcase of Miles being an excellent young Spider-Man, though it continues Black Panther's fine tradition of soundtracking Marvel trailers with Vince Staples. The film will star Shameik Moore as the voice of Miles Morales, with Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) voicing his father, Jefferson Davis, and actor Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) voicing Miles's uncle, Aaron Davis, aka The Prowler." [via: io9]

"You're not being too paranoid."

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:50:29 GMT

For the blissfully unaware, Anglin is a neo-Nazi troll and propagandist who runs The Daily Stormer, one of the more prominent sites of the white supremacist web. The passages selected by Vox Day in his blog post suggested that Anglin is persnickety about detail and presentation ― except on the subject of the Jews, who are to be blamed "for everything."

HuffPost has acquired the 17-page document in its entirety, as well as transcripts from an IRC channel where the document was shared in an effort to recruit new writers. It's more than a style guide for writing internet-friendly neo-Nazi prose; it's a playbook for the alt-right.

Are there no workhouses?

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 17:44:17 GMT

The World Inequality Report published [pdf] on Thursday by French economist Thomas Piketty, warned that inequality had ballooned to "extreme levels" in some countries and said the problem would only get worse unless governments took coordinated action to increase taxes and prevent tax avoidance. The economists said wealth inequality had become "extreme" in Russia and the US. The US's richest 1% accounted for 39% of the nation's wealth in 2014 [the latest year available], up from 22% in 1980.

desegregation never happened

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:57:23 GMT

School segregation didn't go away. It just evolved. "Schools are segregated because white people want them that way" That's what Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times Magazine writer and recipient of a prestigious "genius grant," told me in a recent interview. "Genius grant" is the popular term for the MacArthur fellowship, a no-strings-attached $625,000 grant awarded to 24 "exceptionally creative people" each year. Hannah-Jones was selected this year for her probing work on segregation in American society [previously], particularly in housing and education. She's probably best known for her two award-winning stories "Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City" [previously] and "The Problem We All Live With." I reached out to her this week after her grant was announced. We talked about the myths surrounding segregation in America, why it's so damn hard to explain structural racism, and why she remains deeply cynical about America's future. Are Private Schools Immoral? In a recent episode of The Atlantic Interview, Nikole Hannah-Jones and The Atlantic's editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, discuss how integrated schools are good for white children and black children. "If one were to believe that having people who are different from you makes you smarter, that you engage in a higher level of thinking, that you solve problems better, there are higher-level ways that integration is good for white folks," Jones says. For black children, the benefits of attending an integrated school are much more drastic. "It's literally, will you receive a quality education or not? Will you be a full citizen in the country of your birth?" In a hyper-competitive economy where test scores and college admissions and lifetimes earnings are all linked, Hannah-Jones has seen that the soft benefits of integration, like empathy or compassion, are low on a family's priority list. "Most white people are willing to trade that," she has found. How charter schools are prolonging segregation The segregated state of our schools helps maintain the inequitable funding that determines families' educational options. When the government-backed Home Owner's Loan Corporation developed color-coded maps to sort out who could receive mortgage lending, blacks who lived in the red sections of the map were not given loans. And of course, the most well-resourced schools just happen to be located in the most expensive neighborhoods. The Brookings team looked closely at district lines, and they found that if you remove them, many schools become more racially imbalanced. It seems to me that wealthy neighborhoods are using district lines to leverage themselves against demographic shifts. According to EdBuild, a non-profit focused on school finance issues, the most egregious cases of segregation are shown by the roughly 36 districts that were formed since 2000 as a result of secession — when a school district splits from a larger one. Charter Schools Do Not Further Segregation - "The reality is that many charters, as well as district schools, reflect their location and community's housing patterns. When comparing charter schools in these areas to their neighboring district schools, you will see similar demographic patterns." FRANKENBERG, Erica; SIEGEL-HAWLEY, Genevieve; WANG, Jia.Choice without Equity: Charter School Segregation. education policy analysis archives, [S.l.], v. 19, p. 1, jan. 2011. ISSN 1068-2341. Our findings suggest that charters currently isolate students by race and class. This analysis of recent data finds that charter schools are more racially isolated than traditional public schools in virtually every state and large metropolitan area in the nation. In some regions, white students are over-represented in charter schools while in other charter schools, minority students have little exposure to white students. Data about the extent to which charter schools serve low-income and English learner studen[...]

The legal battle for segregation is won but the community battle goes on

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:42:20 GMT

African-American mayor in Georgia can't get the keys to get into his own office [auto-playing video]
Mayor Davis said he's fed up with what he said is discrimination within the city government.

"It is creating a social, economic and political disadvantage for most residents," said Davis.

Davis and newly elected Pollard said they will be sitting out of city-meetings to draw attention to issues they say are happening within the local government. "The racial issues are the biggest problems," explained Davis.

Among the list of issues, Davis said the city's cemetery is segregated, the city is gerrymandered and the police department has no black officers.

City Manager Bennett Adams argues not all of that is true. He said anyone can pay the required money to be buried in the cemetery.
Video interview with Mayor Davis.

Camilla, GA has been the staging grounds for white supremacy in the past too:
Determined to promote political and social reform with an organized rally, at least 150 freedmen, along with Republican political candidates, advanced toward the town's courthouse square. Local citizens warned the black and white activists of the impending violence and demanded that they forfeit their guns, even though carrying weapons was customary at the time. The marchers refused to give up their guns and continued to the courthouse square, where local whites fired upon them. This assault forced the Republicans and freedmen to retreat as locals gave chase, killing an estimated fifteen protestors and wounding forty others.

The Camilla Massacre was the culmination of smaller acts of violence committed by white inhabitants that had plagued southwest Georgia since the end of the Civil War. Local whites had individually attacked freedmen and white Republicans for three years without repercussion. That lack of punishment assured the perpetrators that violence was a legitimate way to oppose black activism.
Meanwhile, in ostensibly progressive Atlanta:
The racial makeup of the candidates and their combined votes really highlighted the divide in the city. The vote results correlated heavily with the city's racial makeup. In fact, the correlation between the combined racial vote and the runoff vote was near perfect.
And for those interested in doing something, look here, here, here, here or, more locally, here, here, or here.

The analogue upgrade

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:42:17 GMT

We're living in a digital world, but analog is making a comeback. "Digital isn't always better. Sure, there are enormous benefits to working with media, files and devices in the digital domain, but we are, after all, still living in an analog world. As human beings, we still touch things with our hands, hear things with our ears and see things with our eyes — all of which are decidedly (and beautifully) analog reception devices."

Nostalgia may be an attraction for everything analogue these days, but trends are upward in sales of books, console gaming (yes I know it's not analogue tech, but it is retro), and of course, vinyl records, and there are a lot of young people doing the buying too.


- Bit by Bit: Inside the Rise of Retro Gaming

- Perhaps the car will be the next trend.

- Previously

"That was live, 7. Not taped"

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:08:59 GMT

52 years ago today, the joint NASA mission of Gemini 6A and Gemini 7 marked a milestone: the first time that two orbiting objects successfully rendezvoused with one another in space. The Gemini 6 command pilot and Mercury Seven astronaut Wally Schirra (and onboard computers) brought the capsule within 1 foot of Gemini 7 and the two spaceships stayed in close orbit for four-and-a-half hours. Shortly after their separation, they gleefully marked another milestone: the first song transmitted from space.

Just before the astronauts went to sleep on the morning of December 16, Schirra and his mission partner Tom Stafford "spotted" an unidentified object and reported it to their orbiting colleagues:

"Gemini 7, this is Gemini 6. We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably a polar orbit.... He's in a very low trajectory traveling from north to south and has a very high climbing ratio...Looks like he might be going to re-enter soon.... You just might let me pick up that thing...."

From there, the Gemini 6 astronauts launched into a performance of "Jingle Bells," played on a tiny Hohner "Little Lady" harmonica by Schirra and accompanied by a set of jingle bells by Stafford (each had been snuck onboard their spacecraft). Gemini 7's pilot Jim Lovell (later the commander of the Apollo 13 mission, and famously played by Tom Hanks in the movie of the same name) responded "we got him too, 6!" and laughed. Schirra then boasted "that was live, 7. Not taped," and Mission Control in Houston chimed in "you're too much, 6."

Not one to miss out on a promotional opportunity, Hohner used the orbital jam session as the basis for a print ad. Schirra's harmonica (still with the dental floss and velcro that he used to rig up the instrument so that it wouldn't float away in microgravity) and Stafford's bells now sit in the National Air and Space Museum, as part of the "Apollo to the Moon" exhibition.


Fri, 15 Dec 2017 14:21:10 GMT

Same-Sex Native American Couple Hopes to Break Barriers Through Dance A same-sex couple who fell in love while performing on the pow wow dance circuit is hoping they can bring confidence to other young Native Americans grappling with their sexual identities.

The Mesopotamian Pantheon

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:37:53 GMT

Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses is an overview of the pantheon originating among the Sumerians which was then taken up by various later cultures, including Babylonians and Assyrians. The site has entries on the fifty most important deities, from the obscure (Papsukkal, Geshtinanna, Tashmetu) to the well-known (Tiamat, Enki, Ishtar). The site also includes a glossary and a timeline of Mesopotamian history.

When We Fight, We Have Our Children With Us

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:15:14 GMT

Friends ask me about being a parent who also remains politically involved. They ask me what it's like to bring my kids with me to demonstrations, meetings and trainings, to breastfeed while facing a cop in riot gear, to be peed on by my baby at a direct-action training, to carry my toddler piggyback while marching through the streets. They want to know what it was like to bring my two young children to Standing Rock.

China's big brother: artificial intelligence

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 11:14:47 GMT

China's big brother: how artificial intelligence is catching criminals and advancing health care Zhu Long, co-founder of pioneering Yitu Technologies, whose facial-recognition algorithms have logged 1.8 billion faces and caught criminals across China, says AI will change the world more than the industrial revolution.

I'm now busy worrying over the privacy/surveillance implications, if most of us will lose our jobs or if humans will become redundant altogether. I am a woolly-headed humanities grad so am not well-versed about A.I. or coding. Probably one of the humans headed straight towards obsolescence :(

I did find this reassuring: Chinese woman offered refund after facial recognition allows colleague to unlock iPhone X

Hey Alma!

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 00:15:59 GMT

Welcome to Alma (, a website geared toward Jewish millennial women focusing on topics of cultural interest and forging a virtual community for those seeking a connection to others grappling with common "Jew-ish" issues.

Summer 2017: An Orthodox transgender woman shares feelings of alienation in the trans community because of her Jewish identity. A woman who quit her office job to travel the world and become a "digital nomad" offers advice to others who may be contemplating the same. A writer offers a list of six camp-themed novels that will feed the nostalgia of those missing summers filled with bug juice and cabin raids. And readers are offered a free giveaway of a "Kiss My Tuchis" muscle tank to one lucky winner "who will clearly be the envy of everyone in their Zumba class."

So far, this month's articles include:

- I wore a ridiculous Hanukkah dress in all my JSwipe Photos and Things Got Weird - Full of hilarious (?) puns and sad shtupboys.

- The 10 Best Jewish Jokes in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - [in synagogue] "Are you going to answer my question with a question?" "If not here, where?"

- 8 Things Jewish Women Actually Want for Hanukkah - 1. Affordable access to birth control, 2. Equal pay, and 3. No more sexual harassment in the work place (or anywhere)!

- All My Favorite Childhood Books and Movies are Ruined Because of Stalking - As you watch the video of your recent wedding that your husband's best friend made, you realize that the camera was trained on your face and body the entire time — missing most of the key moments of the ceremony, not to mention your husband.


- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017

I aint one of yall peers, I'm the sum of all fears

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 22:37:24 GMT

The Roots' Black Thought unleashes a blistering freestyle on Funkmaster Flex's show on Hot 97 (NSFW language) for 10 minutes straight, doing everything from flipping words to talking about his position on late night television, to referencing a multitude of rappers from Rakim, the D.O.C., Kanye and Dr. Dre, to Kendrick Lamar, to talking about his mother and his upbringing and the current crop of rappers.

Because a chicken does not have a penis.

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 22:07:03 GMT

What's the egg industry's biggest logistical challenge right now? Distinguishing whether a seconds-old chick is a male or a potential egg-layer. That's where chicken sexers come in; they're essential, and accurate sexers are prized in the industry. But how do they know what they know? And what can their well-developed pattern recognition teach us? James McWilliams, for Pacific Standard: The Lucrative Art of Chicken Sexing.

Stopping By the Ruins

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 21:50:57 GMT

"One of the most interesting places my ruins research has taken me is into the world of ancient Arabic poetry. So here's the story of how a tiny fragment from the opening of ancient poems became one of the most enduring poetic tropes in history:" (Twitter thread)

Penguin Nest Cam! Eggs hatching soon!

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 21:32:37 GMT

Welcome to the nest! Streaming live from the National Aviary's Penguin Point, we are pleased to bring you the soon-to-be newest members of our African Penguin colony. Watch the penguin parents care for their eggs, and then their chicks, as they hatch and grow.

Penguin parents, Sidney and Bette, laid two eggs on November 7th and 11th. The first egg is expected to hatch between December 14 and 18, and the second egg is expected to hatch between December 18 and 22. If all goes well, the chicks will eventually join the National Aviary's current colony of 20 African Penguins. This is the fourth set of chicks for Sidney and Bette who have had 6 chicks together at the National Aviary (not including these two)!

The chicks will remain in the nest for the first three weeks. They will then be moved inside to be cared for by National Aviary experts until they are old enough to return to the colony in Penguin Point. This special upbringing will ensure the chicks get the highest standard of care possible, and that they are ready to fulfill their future roles as ambassadors for their species.


Thu, 14 Dec 2017 21:26:51 GMT

Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression. Reality for many people in this country is the inability to afford rent, buy a home, pay for healthcare, and get a steady job. Why is this often the rule rather than the exception, and what effects does it have on millennials and the future?

Miss Mary Hamilton and Ms. Sheila Michaels, claiming titles for women

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 21:23:11 GMT

Mary Hamilton and Sheila Michaels were civil rights activists in the '60s. We know their story in part because Sheila Michaels recorded hours of interviews with Mary Hamilton in the '90s, and in part because Mary Hamilton fought to be referred to as Miss Hamilton in court, in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court where her case was decided without hearing any oral arguments in 1964. Sheila Michaels was inspired by a piece of mail addressed to her roommate, Mary Hamilton, to be the champion for the title of Ms. starting in in 1961 (previously). As recounted in NPR's obituary for Michaels: The two women met through The Congress of Racial Equality in New York. They moved in together around 1961, and spent the next few years living, traveling, protesting and registering voters together. (And having plenty of fun, too. "We partied a lot. I mean, we had great parties," Michaels said in that oral history.) The fateful piece of mail arrived that first year of their friendship and activism. It was a left-wing magazine addressed to Ms. Mary Hamilton, but it was Michaels who was struck by inspiration. Those two little letters ... "Wow, wonderful! Ms. is me!" Michaels thought, according to a 2000 interview with Japan Times. "The first thing anyone wanted to know about you was whether you were married yet," Michaels told The Guardian in 2007. "I'd be damned if I'd bow to them." Going by "Ms." suddenly seemed like a solution; a word for a woman who "did not 'belong' to a man." Michaels recounted Hamilton's stand for equal recognition in the courts that started in 1963, in an interview with NPR in 2013: It was custom to only address black people by their first name. That practice didn't sit well with Mary Hamilton. She was a teacher, a Freedom Rider and the first female field organizer in the South for the Congress of Racial Equality. Her roommate during this time, Sheila Michaels, says Hamilton was tough — brave — like the nuns of her Catholic school upbringing. "And her opinions were unbendable, iron," Michaels says. Civil rights protests in Alabama hit a crescendo in the spring of 1963. In Gadsden, a factory town northeast of Birmingham, police arrested Hamilton and other demonstrators. At a hearing that June, the court referred to her as "Mary." "And she just would not answer the judge until he called her 'Miss Hamilton.' And he refused. So he found her in contempt of court," Michaels says. So Mary Hamilton was thrown in jail and fined $50. The NAACP took the case that eventually appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the following year in Hamilton's favor. In other words, the ruling decided that everyone in court deserves titles of courtesy, regardless of race or ethnicity. Michaels says Hamilton was immensely proud of the case. "I mean, a Supreme Court case, you know, decided for you. Are you kidding? This is a big deal," she says. [...]